bicycle dreams

Toddled out to St Lucia tonight (it’s Loosia, I have learnt) to catch this film for Bike Week. Again, another lovely (free) event with much to recommend it. For those who want a proper review – maybe try here or with the film site itself and then google outwards. Suffice to say, like many bike films there was a slightly dodgy soundtrack, some appalling titling and an oddly lumpy/psycho-spiritual narrative style that I personally find weird.

That said, I watched Invictus and cried the other night so maybe I’m coming around on sports movies. It’s no American Flyers, nor even Footloose on Bikes. But I cried nonetheless and found myself overcoming the terrible fly-in clock graphics in order to lose myself in an experience of extraordinary endurance and almost baffling physical commitment, the Race Across America. I recently tried to go to work on less than four hours sleep and it was positively depressing. I won’t be riding some 4,500km in under 12 days any time soon.

In a sad postscript, my google wanderings led to the discovery that Jure Robič, the record five-time winner of the RAAM, as it is known, died recently in a cycle/car accident. And today, through the magic of skype, I spoke with another friend whose husband also died a few years ago in a cycling/car accident. Oh, and weirdly enough, I listened to Beyonce’s Halo at least ten times today, which is a song that I used to listen to with some sense of cheesy irony (something to do with the slightly drag-level crazy that makes me find Beyonce so appealing) but today just made me feel profoundly sad, made me miss people that I love, made me wonder what they’re doing now, wherever it is that they are.

I feel like I’m going to wake up tomorrow after having this strange recurring dream. I am on a long ride, slightly familiar but not yet automatic. I was riding with someone, but now I’m riding alone. I’m more tired than fresh but more fresh than tired. The perpetual ache of impending ITB nags at me but I just keep riding, piecing together a conversation we half finished, then letting it dissolve again as I try to keep my legs moving even and light. I approach another rider, they nod, and I nod back.

By Eleanor Jackson

Eleanor Jackson is a Filipino Australian poet, performer, arts producer, cyclist, writer, gal about town, feminist, freewheeler, and friend.

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